tv American History TV CSPAN March 13, 2016 11:00pm-12:01am EDT
there are reports that sojourner truth stayed there any a nice, the family's last name had a school named after them. if you go to the campus a painting photograph of the you will see a painting photograph of the minister and his wife, and the church on campus was called sister chapelle. i thought was because of all the sisters on campus. it is called sister chapelle because of lauren lucy feldman. once they got involved with the green book, 95% of the businesses were black-owned businesses that supported the green book and supported travels on open road. i think we have another clip we're going to show of some of my interviews from the film.
[video clip] >> where are you from? >> new york city, manhattan. my parents lived in our home when i was born. -- lived in harlem when i was born. i lived and moved in queens. >> your parents met here? >> they met in kansas, where my mother lived, and my mother grew the up. during world war ii, my father was stationed there. that is when they met. then my father was sent to france, and when the war was over they got married and moved to new york. . and that is where i was born.
>> at the woman's hospital? >> the woman's hospital, which is no longer there, near columbia university. >> and your family would go back south for holidays and summer vacations, weddings and funerals, things like that? >> you go south to her three times a year. we would go for thanksgiving, holidays mainly. christmas, and we would visit my mother's family in kansas. this was before interstate highways as well. >> to lane, blacktop highway spread >> exactly. mountains of west virginia. >> what about food? issue spend a lot of time cooking? >> yes, we would take a shoebox with fried chicken and potato salad would go bad really quickly, see you again at first. -- so you would eat that first. my mother was not a great cook,
but my grandmother would access up -- fix us up. >> ok. so you remember -- when did you first become aware that accommodations on the road to your family? >> i feel like i always knew it. my father used to take me, sometimes he would take me before my sister was born. i always knew that we cannot stay places, or he places. i do not remember. i guess my mother packing a lunch, it was just natural. i traveled from when i was two years old on.
>> in the bathroom stops were frightening? >> they framed me. this is what you say. don't do anything accidentally. once we get past washington dc, that mood changed. >> you remember your father using the green book? >> i do remember him using the green book to find places to eat. the thing was to find the black section of downtown, and then we would use agreement to find places to eat, and at other times when we traveled beyond my parents -- beyond, occurrence like to travel, they thought it was helpful for our education. we took a trip from new york, across country to the grand canyon, california, and down to mexico. we went that far. when we started out, we went all
the way to florida, and that is when i remember him using the book to find places to stay. that is the year they passed the civil rights act. i think they passed that in july. i remember staying in the sporting, rooming houses, and at one place we stayed in florida, the owner paid my father to go stay in a hotel, a regular hotel, because they had fighting and dogs being sick on them, and they had fought for the right for us to say there. that whole trip was a trip. s to go the first black in the white hotels. and in texas we did that. people got up and left, the whole thing. it was an emotional thing. >> especially for a young child. when the man was pleading with your father to go stay at one of these hotels, your father resisted? >> my father was resentful of the fact that he cannot stay in
those hotels before, and he was adamant he was going to continue to support african american, or at the time negro establishments. he said i will not eat and there's establishment, i will not patronize them in any way. after the guy sat him down and told him the specifics, the sacrifices that he has made, and said i need your business, but are you begging you to go, my father did it. and the rest of the trip we stayed in regular hotels. >> that is emotional. and you remember the first time you went into a regular hotel, checking in? >> we had gone to mexico, and our experience in mexico was way different. we were welcomed, and as a
matter of fact my father was a chatty guy and he ran into this man who let us stay in his penthouse. experiences in mexico, a wonderful time. the mexicans were talking about the european americans and how they get drunk, and have bad manners, so we come across the border in texas, and this i remember really clearly. we stopped in a hotel, we go into the dining room, and we walk in. my mother had us really dressed up, looking our absolute best. we stepped into the dining room, and silence. it was a big room. silence. everybody stopped talking, everybody turned to look at us. it was terrifying. not smiling, scowling. some people got up and walked
out of the dining room, when we walked in. my parents sat us down and ordered food, and we ate, but it was not a fun memory. it was scary to me, and very uncomfortable. mr. ramsey: you mentioned you were driving in north carolina, and the sheriffs car passed you by, turned around. >> i remember another incident where we were going to visit my father's family in north carolina, my grandmother, his uncle. we were on the interstate highway. there were two lane highway, as you described, and it was at night. we were driving down the highway, because it would take longer than it takes now to get there, because she had to go through the mountains in west virginia. the sheriff is coming towards us in the opposite direction. as we drove past, he makes a
swift u-turn. my father had a new buick, and he was very conscious of the new york plates, and in these small-towns, they know everybody there. he gunned the motor, to out run them, because we were afraid that if they stopped us, they would kill him or harmed him in some way. my mother was hysterical that he was out run these police, which he did. he drove really fast, cut his lights, and took a side road. we sat under a tree until the sun came up. he saw their lights go past, back and forth. they cannot figure out where he was. it was really frightening.
mr. ramsey: what year do you think that was? >> i was really young. mr. ramsey: the 1950? >> definitely. my sister was 3, 4 years old. i was maybe seven. that was a while ago. mr. ramsey: for you afraid to go to sleep? >> i was. mr. ramsey: and he just got back on the road? >> after many hours, their lights stopped going back and forth, and we left. my mother was really upset. mr. ramsey: father kept traveling after that, years of the future? >> he was a great guy.
mr. ramsey: you never said he did not want to go? >> we never said that. he felt like he was a person of some stature, with some rights. mr. ramsey: he was a citizen. >> exactly. and they were wrong, not him. mr. ramsey: will your father's name? >> richard irving. and my mother's name was betty wright. she is almost 90 years old. she is in florida. they retired and moved to florida. she does not live here. >> that was amazing. [applause] mr. ramsey: that is paula.
i was in harlem, and that was right across from the polo grounds on edgecombe avenue. and if you familiar with edgecombe? i was going to interview a gentleman who was in the military used green book, traveling across the country. and paula was just sitting on the bench, just sitting there. she asked what we were doing, and we mentioned we were filling some people about the green book. she said my parents had a green book, and that is how we got paula. we had no idea she and all these stories. we have another clip of her that is very dramatic, i hope you get a chance to show it. how many of you have a great book, heart of the green book, -- family members owed a green
book, or heard of the green before now? i went to an auction, and a $.25 green book sold for $22,500. now it is a rare book. it was the size of a jet magazine, it would fit inside the car compartment of your car. once you got a copy, you would keep it forever. some people would make copies of copies, like they do not. -- now. victor green did not mind that at all. he would print about 25,000 books a year. he was a full-time mail carrier, and he had to go to hackensack everyday. once he got advertising, he was able to move his operation out of his home and he moved into his office into 200 west 35th
street, front of a small paradise. he was about the famous music establishment, and he was there for many years. down the hall from him was this postal union that started in tennessee. they were in room 208, and he was in room 215a that was his energy, that was his workforce. they kept the book going. even at civil rights bills were passed, people still wanted to stay where they fold comfortable. there was pushed back in the beginning. people do not automatically open the doors and the businesses. there was pushed back. but victor green was a guy who
felt like something needed to be done. he did it very quietly, and when he passed away he fell through the cracks of history. i had never heard of the green book, even though i am old enough to remember that time of jim crow. i remember seeing the water fountains and the signs and things of that nature. i was in atlanta, talking to a second grade class, and i mentioned that it was old enough to remember that great a little -- remember that. a little girl as me if i had ever seen a dinosaur. [laughter] mr. ramsey: and so i told them i was not quite that old. but the books were there. i had never heard of a green book, so i'm going to go back a little ways. back in the 1970's i moved to california. i was going to write screenplays and do all that. i was taking courses at ucla. i was out there for a couple of years, and nothing was working out for me. i was having a lot of fun, but nothing was working out.
my parents told it come back, so i said ok. but it did not go back to north carolina where i grew up. i flew to st. croix, lived there for a couple of years, i lived in st. john, the virgin islands and then i came back. i went back south and got married. but when i was in california i met some people. i met a black guy named tony and his sister patricia. you fast-forward 33 years, i am in home depot to buy a lawnmower for my youngest sons we can start cutting the grass. [laughter] a guy walks up behind me and said you look like calvin ramsey. i turned around, and it was tony, one of the guys from l.a.. he's had come by the house, i married patricia and we have 8
children. they have a son named little tony. a year later, he was killed in a car accident. he had a flat tire and stopped inside the road. the police stopped to help him, and someone run over the police officer and little tony. the police officer's legs are broken, and little tony is killed. we have a funeral, and the grandfather comes down from new york, patricia's father. it was his first time in the deep south, 2001. he looks right at me and says, i was looking for a green book. he thought he still needed one in 2001. i said, what is the green book? he started explaining to me what it was, and i had not heard of it. so i went over to emory university, they do not have any copies.
they did not know what i was talking about. i went over to the morehouse, and they had two copies. so i made copies of copies. that is how the green book fell on me. i wrote a play, and it is a children's book. there was a lady who had a children's book. can you hold it up? the dedication page of the children's book, i dedicated the book to little tony, the young man who was killed. can i hold it up? this is the story of an eight-year-old girl named ruth, and it is 1953, and she travels from chicago to selma to see her grandmother. i dedicated the book to little tony. this tells what she goes through on the trip, and she knows nothing about her color giving her any issue, until the first
stop. you may remember that talks that your parents or grandparents you about how things are. so ruth is this talk on this trip and her whole life changes. but she grows from this. and so when i talked to kids, they see it as a fairness issue. ruth is not being treated fairly. that is how it affects them, and then we talk about other forms of discrimination, not just color. we talk about sexual identity, we talk about religion, we talk about body shape, we talk about learning ability, physical ability, because discrimination is not just color. it is other things as well. that is what we talk about with the kids using the book.
i think we have another clip on paula that i would like or you to see. i think it is pretty dramatic, and you might get something out of it. [video clip] mr. ramsey: we got a few more minutes. >> yeah. i have one more story, actually, because traveling to kansas took several days. it was grueling, because you cannot stop anywhere except the rooming houses. i remember from the green book,
one occasion where i got sick. i got a high temperature, and my parents were trying to -- and i remember they had the book. there were trying to find a place to stay. we were two or three hours from the nearest place. we would have to go all the way back to st. louis or something, and i was really sick. so my father went to motels that was really kind of seedy, and ged if we could drive around back and stay in the hotel for the night because i was sick. and i think the book might of had the nearest hospital you could go to. i remember consulting this and trying to figure out what they were going to do. i think they decided we are better off just trying to keep going in the direction we are going.
mr. ramsey: no motel would let you? >> my father begged and he says we cannot. there is nobody here, but if they find out they will never have customers again. he did that for a number of hotels, and finally he went in crying, which for him was please, my daughter's sake. mr. ramsey: and that did not work either? >> no. they had to drive through with me sick. alternating. but i remember it, because my father was crying, begging with me in his arms. you can see my daughter is sick, please. they went straight through to kansas. mr. ramsey: that is incredible. and my sister was not born.
>> i remember that. mr. ramsey: that is a great start. >> that really made an impression. and even though they had this book, these places -- when you get st. louis out that far, these places were not that close together. mr. ramsey: and you had information to put in this book from the mailman. he was a mailman himself. he lived right around the corner. and he looked about for the small paradise was ok to, and worthy i hope is. he lived there, and worked as a mailman for 40 years. >> everybody is this book. everybody used to this.
mr. ramsey: that gives you a different flavor about what life was like on the open road as far as children traveling with their parents. it was not always pleasant, comfortable, and there was an area of cities and counties called sundown town, where you are not supposed to be there after sundown. victor green made it clear to avoid those at all risk, because that is what paul and her family ran into the night her father outran the local sheriffs. they were in the sundown towns. if you were caught there, there were violations of the county in the state.
i would like free to ask me some questions now, if you have some. yes sir? >> what to do you say to the so-called african-american about economics and where they spend their dollars? thank you. mr. ramsey: one of the bad things about the movement was budget will even that it one in time there were a lot of businesses. it was 95% african-american control and owned businesses that provided the services. after the integration, those businesses no longer existed because the customers went elsewhere. i was walking the that watching a document or last night on negro baseball. and one of the managers was talking about how great negro baseball was.
after jackie robinson got in, they to draw 40,000 people per game, and it got to a point where it was down to five or 6000, and less than that. the league did not exist after that. but buck o'neil felt like it was needed, and it was an opportunity by far. it was all about inclusion. so he felt like it was still a good thing. >> a two-part question. did the families and businesses who were listed in this book feel like they were in any danger for being in this book? were there other people in the towns where their homes or businesses were that would persecute them for listing in this book? and do you know of any of those circumstances that occurred? >> no. the green book was on like the underground railroad. it was out in the open, and was keeping things separate and equal.
it was really, it was with the law of the land. this is what people want it. they wanted people not to come to their places. people were not in any harm's way by being in the green book. contract the letter carriers, i think, extended themselves, because was not part of their job description get people to do something like this. i think they were in the most difficult position. yes? >> i have a quick question. how did people get their copies of the green book? did the letter carrier's mail them, or how were they able to get their copies? edsel got involved, chris paul mason, a lot of these guys were masons, and the pulling porters have them on the trains, and eastern stars.
it was getting out there. they were getting out there. >> thank you for your research, mr. ramsey. i have three questions, but i will make some quick. with her information about mexico? was there information about sundown towns? what cities or regions sold mostly books -- sold the most green books? >> the northeast had most of the listings. what happened after world war ii is that a lot of american soldiers were studying abroad, living in different places. the places where they did not have a lot of jim crow issues, the americans were importing jim crow to new regions, like to the
caribbean. canada, paris. it got to a point where victor green had to list laces were ordinarily beforehand was not an issue. but after the american gis started to go to these laces -- to these places where they said we do not associate with these people back home, we don't want to do it back here, i've talked to people from jamaica who set a one point they could go through the front door, and it got to the point were large hotels and not to do that. victor green opened up the caribbean, he started doing things in bermuda. and then he had his own little travel guide as well. -- and then he had his own little travel guide as well.
>> how did you interview people for the film? mr. ramsey: i had a play that was running. after the play, i would be a lot of running children's books, and people would be telling the things. whether they had a green book or not. i did a reading of the play in the feud -- in washington, d.c. a friend talked about his father having a green book. ernie green stood up, he said his family had agreed that a green book -- his family had a
green book. they used it from little rock, arkansas, to go to virginia when his sister graduated. i did not know paula all. even if they did not have a green book, they still have the stories that had -- they still have these stories. usually word-of-mouth. one lady, ramona, she remembered the came to her way -- she remembered that he came to her wedding. and then they just lost contact. then they went about their separate lives and just kind of left it alone. now, they are getting a little more excited. he is being part of their family
-- she is being part of their family. >> good evening, i am a doctoral student. i'm curious about the role of higher education. in hosting and espousing blacks from the north as they traveled throughout the south. mr. ramsey: my father in law was a doctorate in georgia. he went to morehouse. done in tennis the -- down in tennessee. when they would travel, they would stay at black colleges, the black dormitories. they were open in the summer when the students were not there. the served as hotels for a lot of people.
those schools were really an oasis for travelers. i know a couple in atlanta. this gentleman had gone to harvard. he was teaching for many, many years. when he heard about green book, he was taken back. folks would come in all these meetings, but nobody ever talked how they got there. he felt hurt that nobody confided in him about the travel situation. today, people never talk about it, how they get from your to their, just how it works. it was also pretty sad.
i talked to a gentleman from georgia tech, his family was out of ohio. his father was dead tired, he went to a black hotel he was following the rules. little boy was telling me this tory. -- this story. he was following the same rules. the little boy never forgot that . he was telling me the story. he was crying. i get folks telling me these stories, the great bass player, ray brown, who was varied to -- he was married to ella fitzgerald.
he said if he ever gets alzheimer's, he hopes he gets the kind that would erase all the problems he had on the road. if he would get that kind, he would be glad to have it. >> thanks. as an aside, when jackie robinson was acquired by the dodgers. my question is, i heard that catholics used to have trouble in the south. was travelingst from here to there, did they also use the green book? mr. ramsey: white or black catholics? [laughter] mr. ramsey: i don't know. i think the color kind of trumped everything you -- trumped everything. once, in indian kid asked, "if i was traveling, what would ice -- what would i see?"
it was, you know, it was there. even now, when i am driving, if i see a name brand rest area, i do not than -- pull in. i keep driving somewhere that is more appealing. it is like a memory, you just can't get rid of it. >> i was a little bit late. i apologize if you've already said this, but was there one of nationally or regional ones? mr. ramsey: it was yearly, done
by state and cities in the state. utah, you name it. these mailmen, they were good about sending information, and he got it, way before the internet. he was producing this publication. there some more in the back, i think. >> you asked if we had immigrants and their families -- in our families. were any things like that in the book as well?
mr. ramsey: i want to make sure they have the proper table etiquette. manners and things of that nature. what was called home training back in my time. day, the ones that integrated these places, in the black community, for the educated class, the ones who had gone to college and the educated people. you hear stories all the time, that sometimes restaurants would ask for a black, professional family to come in from the community. it would be an example of things of that nature.
i would talk with people about their family history, settling in hells kitchen, the caribbean. they were italian, maybe the bronx lower eastside, jewish. they would have a place of warship, a place to work. that is what southern blacks did, coming north. the caribbean blacks, i have spoken with, from jamaica and other places, they got here working on the panama canal, some of them. they got entry into the united states, and that was like their own big story. that is our own story, they are
here, and the migration continues. green book really was a math. african-americans were traveling a lot, they have got things of that nature, if they were not going to school, and they were the ones going to the state. there was a lot of movement, a lot of movement. was there another? ok. >> thank you, mr. ramsey, for -- some blacks stayed in these areas. movement.t a lot of
>> thank you, mr. ramsey, for keeping this whole storyline -- story alive. the new york public library has scanned this and put this online, and basically a number of different green books. mr. ramsey: i think we are going to show some of this. was there another question over here? >> excuse me, sir. >> the year the dodgers trained in havana, they stayed at the hotel. the montreal royals were the team that had the black players. days they stayed elsewhere.
the black players stayed at a boarding house. jim crow laws were brought by americans into cuba. mr. ramsey: yes, sir. the caribbean players were not accustomed to that. i met a sports writer from jacksonville, florida, and every year, this is where the yankees moved further south. they had spring training in jacksonville. he asked me to write a children's book, and they kind of wanted to do this themselves. every year, they would say, come home, and a your room. -- stay in your room. [laughter] mr. ramsey: he had a yankees uniform and a picture of all of it.
every year he would come to your home and stay in your room. that's pretty incredible. but it was a bad thing but a good thing, too. mentioned the sundown towns. there was a book i read that was interesting, because a lot of communities are to the north, not down in the south. ohio, pennsylvania, los angeles, they were known as restrictive covenant, but still known as sundown town. it was not only in the south. what he shows there his research is that even into the 1980's, several areas would not allow
you into certain communities if you are of color or jewish. i've grew up -- i grew up on bergen beach. you did not see a person of color unless they were walking with their backs between the house. -- bags between their house in the street. in brooklyn, it was restrictive. nobody was allowed in there if you were not white. and it was noticed. being a little white kid in new york, when i came into the city and other parts, downtown brooklyn, you saw this man come out of there, and they said that is just the way it is. we are not talking very long ago. mr. ramsey: there was a section of the beach called the "pink -- inkwell" where all the black -- blacks go.
now they can go all over the island if they want, but they still go there, because they say that's how it was for grandparents and elders, home. you might go there and see anybody out there, spike lee, j gregory. this is their turf. some people don't like the term "inkwell." but this is where you will find the people. was there someone else? ok. >> hello, i was wondering if this was mostly used for people who were looking to travel or for a within their owns these -- own cities? mr. ramsey: travelers. people in their own cities, they knew. they knew the nightclubs, the restaurants, the barber strong -- barbershops and all that stuff. the travelers didn't know
anything about this, not the family traveling by car. the supreme court has rulings, where the states made their own laws. their own rules. people do not like riding the bus. when blacks became more affluent and mobile, like they were in charge, they started driving. that presented a whole other set of problems. that is what victor green was trying to eliminate. to plan a trip of kids in the car, you don't know where you're going to stop or eat or stay. that is pretty frightening. the green book eliminated a lot of it. it took the edge off.
>> how is the green book reproduced? was a printing press used? and if so, who owned it? mr. ramsey: victor green owned it. it was his company. i had a clip earlier. there was a jewish gentleman who father printed the green book, and he remembered victor green coming to the shop, to present and get it done. there are people in the printing business and shop that did not want to print the book. this gentleman, howard leonard, said he would do the job. all of the books are online, now. the new york public library has all of these books she ties -- books digitized. if you have your own, i think she has a question.
>> for african americans who did not have family in new york, who were coming to new york, to stay, how difficult was it doing 1939 -- during 1939? mr. ramsey: i'm pretty sure they slept and eight in their cars -- and ate in their cars, went to the bathroom in the woods. they would stay with their families. i remember everybody in our house, they had a cost in the closet -- had a cot in the closet. no one stayed in the hotel. you had people everywhere on the floor. as a kid, it was exciting.
but that is how it was, urban camping. you are listings of new york, you have got niagara falls, rochester, b -- -- the beauty shops. a little bit of everything. this is a better way to look at it. this is the dewdrop inn. do you see mrs. brian? it was the lady, the woman, whoever really took control of
this green book enterprise. they wanted to make sure travelers had a place to go. a lot of folks think it was all doom and gloom. but it was a sharing of love. it was good, it was laughter, it was celebration. meeting friends, telling stories, good times and bad times. it was more good times than bad s.me it is that love of one another, being able to show that friendship, things of that nature out there. you would tell young folks
today, and people would help them, open their homes up. as someone traveling. they cannot really imagine it. this was proof that it went on and on, for years. it did not matter if you are lena horn for sally horn. if you're traveling, you were harm's way. i don't know what those numbers are. that might be military time. [indiscernible] mr. ramsey: it did? ok. mm-hmm. the federal savings and loan association. you had queens, brooklyn, the bronx. this is amazing, compiling all of this, getting about their --
getting it out there. >> we have time for two more questions. mr. ramsey: what was the charge for the book? >> it went from anywhere $.25 to $1.25. the prices varied in different years. in world war ii, there were no books printed. victor died in 1960, and his wife kept it going for four more years. >> we have time for one more question. >> do you see the need now, for a green book? is there a need now? mr. ramsey: well, there is a -- you know, it is funny. the gay community, for a while, had their own network of places to stay. gay travel, where they felt
safe, they had a green book, in a way. there was one lady in d.c., she is kind of connected to a lot of african-american people who own their own bed and breakfasts. a lot of black people doing business. it is a niche market. it is not the same spirit of the green book. now, it is a luxury to stand up -- to stay at a black bed and breakfast in florida or chicago. they do exist. there is a network out there for that.
>> maybe one more. i saw a lot of hands. [laughter] >> i was curious about the hotels in new york. my parents stayed at the algonquin. that was one of the few hotels in new york that allowed black people to stay there. mr. ramsey: you know, i think there is a difference. when i interviewed all of -- interviewed paula, thurgood marshall stayed there. further up is a building called 555, where robison and count basie stayed. nat "king" cole could've stayed there with his backup. he can play downtown, but not stay.
you know, i guess it happened, not too long ago, a guy ended up -- harry belafonte was having trouble finding a place and need in did up buying a building and sold the penthouse to lena horne. that's how he was able to get into the upper west side. >> and calvin, did you know the west face? mr. ramsey: my website is calvinalexanderramseysenior.com which is kind of long. [laughter] mr. ramsey: if you have a child in your life, thinking about getting ruth and the green book.
a lot of adults have it for themselves. it is on amazon. floyd cooper is my illustrator. he won the correct scott king award four times. -- correta scott king award four times. he is just a marvelous illustrative. the green book chronicles is the documentary. we hope to have it out as soon as we can. thank you all for coming out, i appreciate it. [applause] >> thank you, calvin. [applause] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every
weekend, on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on face book at c-span history. >> this years' student cam documentary competition was our largest yet, nearly 6000 middle and high school students took part alone or in teams of up to 3. we received nearly 2900 entries. from 439 schools across the country and even from schools as far away as taiwan and the united arab emirates. now it's time to award $100,000 in prize money to the winners. for this year's contest, students were asked to produce documentaries using our road to the white house theme, specifically to document what issue they most wanted the candidates to discuss during the 2016 presidential campaign. through their entries, students told us that the economy, equality, education, and immigration were all top issues. our judges have finalize their decisions for one grand prize winner, and four first-place winners. there are 150 prizes in all, and one fan favorite selected by
you. we are happy to announce our top prize winners. our grand prize winner is a 10th grader from jenks, oklahoma. olivia's winning documentary titled "up to our necks" addresses the federal debt. >> it doesn't just happen overnight, people. how exactly does america get up to its neck in debt? every year a budget is formed, throwing out large sums of federal money are donated to several areas. the first is discretionary spending, which in 2015 received $1.7 trillion. the second section is mandatory spending, which received $2.45 trillion in 2015. lastly, there is interest on the federal debt, which received 229 billion. >> as our grand prize winner,
she wins $5,000 for her documentary and the c-span bus will travel to her school so we can present her with the check for the grand prize. our first prize for middle school are sisters from virginia. their documentary titled "what should be done about money in politics"? >> you see flyers in your mailbox and hear advertisers on tv, radio, and the internet. politicians spend millions of dollars on their campaign. send this one election ends, the fundraising begins for the next election. every day that congress is in session, there are fundraisers all over the country. in 2012, the president of that -- presidential elections cost for $2.6 billion. you can't help but wonder, where does all this money come from? >> the first prize winners of our high school central competition attend troy high school in troy, michigan. the documentary is entitled "the 1%." it addresses the scarcity of
fresh water. >> today americans are drowning in overly debated issues such as immigration, medicare, terrorism, leaked e-mails. although these are important topics, the issue that will effect the most americans is the issue of the 1%. >> 1%. >> 1%. >> 1%. >> 1%. >> not that 1%. this 1%, the shining blue jewel of the united states, the great lakes. >> truly one of the unique resources in the world. the largest freshwater resource of the world. there is nothing like it. >> our student cam first prize winners from our high school west category are from phoenix, arizona. their documentary is titled "rethinking reform: prisons in america." >> the prison systems around the